This week is premiere week on “Wheel of Fortune,” with hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White kicking off the show’s 32nd season.
While the shows are primarily recorded in California, this week the Wheel crew is on Hawaii Island, taping a month’s worth of episodes that will be aired in the near future.
“It’s no secret that this is my favorite place to be,” said Sajak, “so anytime we get a chance to film in hawaii, I think it’s the greatest thing in the world.”
This is the fifth time “Wheel of Fortune” is taping on location in Hawaii, and the third time at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
When asked what his favorite island food was, Sajak said “this is a little embarrassing, but I’m a big loco moco fan.”
And when he’s not eating loco mocos, or touring the island, he’s on set.
Long before the audience comes in, there’s a lot of prep work. The show’s executive producer Harry Friedman said “some of our staff and crew will have been here for a month, because where we are now is typically a putting green. So everything you see had to be assembled and constructed here.”
In fact, 40 containers worth of equipment, including the wheel and the puzzle board, were shipped over from California. And while they fly in nearly 200 staff and crew from the mainland, the show also hires just as many people or more from here in the islands to help out.
“We will spend over $6 million here,” Friedman said, “and we’ll leave behind probably about $1.5 million in prize money, so all of the contestants live in the state from different islands.:
Vanna White — who, by the way, looks just as gorgeous in person as she does on TV — said “thank you so much for watching and enjoying our show. We wouldn’t be here without you.”
“If it weren’t for that loyalty,” Sajak said, “we wouldn’t be coming here and I wouldn’t be vacationing and eating loco mocos, so it all works out.”
So how did our local contestants do? Well, you’ll just have to wait until November to find out.